Hundreds of homes were destroyed in a fire on Thursday in the western U.S. state of Colorado, which has been hit by high winds and is facing a historic drought, officials said.
“About 370 homes were destroyed in the Sagamore subdivision. 210 houses may have been destroyed in the Superior Old CityBoulder County Sheriff Joe Belle told a news conference.
The city of Boulder, with a population of over 100,000, is located about fifty miles[50 km]from Denver, the capital of Colorado.
The state is experiencing a historic drought that has greatly contributed to the spread of the fires. In Boulder County, hotels, shopping centers and more than 650 acres have been transformed into a green smoke zone.
Winds of up to 160km / h were reported in some places, complicating the efforts of firefighters.
“I would like to emphasize the magnitude and intensity of this fire and its presence in the densely populated area, we would not be surprised if any injuries or deaths occur.Sheriff Joe Belle warned.
Many of the burns required treatment, and at least six of them have been hospitalized, according to the Colorado Sun newspaper.
Pictures aired on CBS showed the burning apartment building as firefighters tried to extinguish it.
Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate, especially in Louisville, where 20,000 residents live.
“Leave Louisville or your life will be in danger“, Meteorological services stressed.
“The strong wind spread the fire fast and all the planes landedJared Police, the governor of this mountainous state where the Rockies meet large plains, tweeted.
“Only ash remains”
Another city targeted for a full evacuation order, Superior, with 13,000 citizens, was shrouded in a thick cloud of smoke Thursday, according to images posted on social media.
Patrick Kilbride, 72, was working at a hardware store when he was ordered fired, according to the local Denver Post.
The 72-year-old rushed to his home in Superior to collect his belongings, but could not save anything other than his car and the clothes he was carrying on his back. Her cat and dog died in the blaze.
“Only ash remainsHe told me about the house where he lived for three decades.
“It is a different feeling to go completely without anything from the situation where all the amenities you can get.“, He told the Denver Post.
Grandma Holts described the horror of evacuating her Boulder County home. “Everything is on fire. Matchsticks everywhere. I’m so scared, of course, with the wind, that it will spread to other homes“, She said.
“Like the darkness of night”
“It was too dark to see anything. It is like the darkness of night“, She said again.
Colorado, an already arid state like the western United States, has been battling exceptional drought for years.
With global warming, the intensity and frequency of drought and heat waves are likely to increase further, creating better conditions for forest or shrub fires. In recent years, the U.S. West has experienced unprecedented fires, especially in California and Oregon.
To Daniel Swain, a meteorologist at UCLA, he “Hard to believe“These fires take place in December, which is generally not conducive to such incidents in the region.
“But only two inches of snowfall so far this season will take the recorded heat and drought drop and add to the storm with extreme downward winds … the result is a very dangerous, very fast moving fire.The researcher tweeted.
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